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Tuesday, December 10, 2019
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Khalihenna: Gjijimat Conference is a break in Plisario pyramid

On the occasion of the second regular session of the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs in Smara, Corcas chairman, Mr. Khalihenna ould Errachid held an important press conference.



Below full text of this conference:

Introduction By Mr. Chairman:

    Smara, which hosts this session and at the same time is an occasion to clarify all the questions that must be cleared about the Sahara, or to correct the information on the current situation, especially in relation to large-scale division, within tribes in the ranks of Polisario, which is currently represented in Gjijimat Congress in the suburbs of Tifariti for the first time since 1975. This is not an escape of a personality or a leader from the Polisario but it is a separation of the base of the pyramid. Tribes are protesting in the buffer zone in northern Mauritania. They express trough the press their support for autonomy and their rejection of the current situation. Let’s open questions session , there will be a question from the right and a question from the north.

Question: We want more details on Gjijimat Congress and separation. Do you have any initiative to protect people if subjected to any risk  

Khalihenna Ould Errachid: this is a very important question, let me answer. Gjijimat is located at 20 kilometers Southeast of Tifariti ie it lays between Tifariti and the Mauritanian border. The Conference was held on 14 but it was on the edge of the Moroccan Mauritanian border. Therefore, the Mauritanian authorities represented by the Governor of Oum Grine, which is located 200 km from the same site and issued a decree banning this conference in relation to least the construction of tents. He asked people to remove the tents and the reason is that Mauritania is worried about the outbreak of conflict in the region. when this occurred and by the intervention of police forces the tribes dispersed in the same area and reached the press: Aljazeera, which completed the first reporting in the same region, and Al-Arabiya and Al Hurra, who volunteered to go 500 kilometers from Zouerate to the region in these difficult security conditions. Now the tribes are still in the region, and of course we are making contact with these brothers. They issued a statement called Gjijimat Declaration which has been published and which clearly reflects their suffering and their rejection of the political approach by the Polisario Front. We are arranging the protection of these people as individuals and as groups, to bring them home. Of course, this would be a large-scale arrangements and requires human, financial and logistical arrangements. However, they are under our protection, we are providing security for them and they secure themselves since they know the region. People who organized Gjijimat Congress are from the following tribes: Rguibat Swaed Tribe, Rguibat Ouled Moussa Tribe, Rguibat Ouled Skeikh, Rguibat Ouled Daoud, Ouled Dlim,  Ouled Ben Sbaa. Ben

Those who did not have permission to accede were not allowed in as you know,  Tindouf camps are on the Mauritanian and Algerian-Moroccan border. All those who wanted to come to this region should pass from this gateway. They tried to prevent people to participate which caused unrest in the camps. People who were prevented from participating, distributed leaflets during the past three days. The last publication is dated yesterday. We of course have the copy of the publication I will send it to news agencies. 

Polisario took two key decisions. First to prevent people from leaving the camps and second imposing military siege to prevent leakage and sabotage. As you can see on TV the military aspect is prevailing in the Congress. 

Now the situation in the region is that there are tribes in various regions. Now we are preparing logistically for their return. Some of them are with members of their families and others their wives and their children are still in the camps and are now in a dilemma between whether to come back individually or stay in the camps and see ways to come back together.  There is great tension in this region, there is anarchy in the camps and in Tifariti. Of course, we are trying to deliver food and relief to these brothers and especially basic relief that we have tried to deliver them and the media to say their suffering to the world. 


Q: Now we have entered in your framework, is this an attempt from the other party to take advantage of this historic opportunity is it for Polisario, or people you said they are not free to take decision.

Khalihenna Ould Errachid: I said that leadership is not free in its decision, and people are not free in terms of participation in decision-making. What is the question

Question: the meeting of the Advisory Council

Khalihenna Ould Errachid: the Royal Advisory Council, I do not want the press to use the wrong name, its name is the Royal Advisory Council, not the Advisory Council the word “Royal” is so important. 

Question: this meeting is an appeal to the Polisario to use this historic opportunity for the Moroccan and before the third round of negotiations

Khalihenna Ould Errachid: Yes, I mean we're going to issue Smara call. What I want to transmit is that there is a problem within Polisario whose leadership is now divided in relation to decisions to be taken regarding  the future of  people who are in Tindouf. people want the leadership to engage in a positive way in negotiations and negotiate in regard to the application of self-government. The leadership has another agenda and this is why Gjijimat Congress was held. People in the camps say that the current leadership of Polisario is not competent to approve self-government. 

Question: In order not ignore some development observed in recent years there is an Algerian policy in supporting Polisario, and this was culminated recently by threat and use of weapons while Morocco has a different policy 
Is Morocco betting hundred percent on negotiations and political and peaceful solution

Khalihenna Ould Errachid: First, I want to say something. The threat of waging war is not true. I emphasize that Polisario does not have means to wage war. This is a diplomatic bargaining to the international community and primarily the United Nations. Plosario has no material,  physical and psychological means to engage in war except if it intends to commit suicide. War decision can not be taken by Polisario only. Therefore, personally, I do not believe in this war issue as it is part of psychological propaganda against Morocco and the United Nations. 

How Polisario can make war while in deplorable conditions in respect of internal solidarity, internal unity and internal division, and topics related to nutrition. Polisario is now heading rapidly towards political, diplomatic and human collapse.  

This is a purely propagandistic issue and I ask the press not to give it much interest. Mr. Mohamed Abdul Aziz yesterday said that war was not an option for them, but we discussed it a possibility. Polisario does not have any means to launch war against Morocco at any time today and in the future

Question: What to do if Polisario’s Congress remains in its position
will Morocco resist forever or there are some other channels that it may use, especially that this concerns the fate of thousands of people detained who want to return to their country  


Khalihenna Ould Errachid: first an answer to this question is premature. We are at a turning point that concerns Polisario itself. there is now division within the Polisario Front, based as I said on protest by the population and an unrest between the population and the leadership. So there is pressure from within Polisario and will allow people to put further pressure to soften its stance in negotiations if its goal is to reach a result. However, if the goal is to delay or respect another agenda other than the interests of Saharans division will grow up between the base and the leadership resulting about a civil war within Polisario.  

Question: Mr. President, you said a while ago during your opening speech that you are going to discuss autonomy plan and you hope that the next round in Manhasset will be occasion to highlight the good faith of the opponents.
Do you hope that they will respond to you

Khalihenna Ould Errachid: there is hope because within the leadership there are prominent people who say that options after Manhasset 1 and 2, do not lead to the result. This point of view is not among the leadership who has final decision. If they join the leadership on 18th or if some of them join the leadership there will be some change and if they are eliminated the trend will remain the same. 


Polisario Front is split between two sections: one part is subject to the intelligence and field effects of those who deal with them in this context, the others who help remain in the leadership and responding to the citizens aspirations to engage in genuine negotiations and end the problem.

This is the real problem, there is one to take decision in this direction.

Therefore if people who talked to me and who agree on autonomy, but have not much power take the reins of leadership, or at least some of them we will see that they are working in this direction.  

But if the radicals still hold the leadership this means that this is intelligence direction against autonomy and this would bring about trouble and many major problems for them. They imposed a preparatory committee for the conference, which included the whole. They shaped a programme and submitted it  to neighborhoods, districts and all organizations. Closed discussion between the Preparatory Commission and all the bodies had been internal dissension for the Polisario.
What are the substantive questions: Where are we walking? What is the objective? Will you leave this? Will the corrupt people be excluede? How much time we will stay here in Tindouf? Questions without answers.

They told people this is what we will discuss at the conference and there will be some modification, however, I do not expect modification which will be of great disappointment and rapid developments towards gradual collapse, at least not only for the Polisario Front, but the collapse of the institution set up for more than one third of a century.

Question: So this will serve the interest of Morocco?

Khalihenna Ould Errachid: Of course, I Morocco has not achieved for 32 years a similar victory in the region. The International community supports this solution and blames Polisario Front and Algeria for hosting the movement and not helping to engage in serious negotiations.   

Question: I have three questions, first is you repeat your sppeches at every visit. Don’t you think that the region’s problems deserve to be given due importance?

Khalihenna Ould Errachid: history is the core of the problem. History will decide whether The Sahara is Moroccan or not. Is separation an old idea in the mind of Saharans, is separation is inherited from the ancestors, is separation based on objective historical community issues, were we a different nation with management and a separate decision from Morocco? I say to those who say this to you and others, separation can not be built on history whether far or near. Separation can be built on problems, as you say, but these problems can never justify separation. You can justify demonstrations and sit-ins but can not get to secession. I’m addressing Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, whose father is a member of corcas and the leadership whose fathers were in the Liberation Army and participated in Rghiwa battle, those who participated in the Dchira, I’m addressing those who know exactly the interpretation of my speech.

Social problems will be examined all the other socio-economic and political problems as well as issues related to human rights will be discussed. Everything should be discussed within it context. The word separation is out of context but the other things are at hand. 

Question: You talked about autonomy as the best solution to solve the problem of Western Sahara, Mr. President, do not you think that, without full reconciliation with all Saharans autonomy can not be applied?
And what is the meaning behind Polisario’s armed struggle in this particular circumstance?

Khalihenna Ould Errachid: autonomy is in itself reconciliation. Polisario or some of the Saharans demanded secession for the reasons everybody knows. I studied in and was president of the PNUS. Spain offered me a state and I refused. I do not want to secede I want to join Morocco. Those who studied in Mohammed V University including the Secretary-General and others said no because that was a leftist time in Morocco, the time of Marxism-Leninism and monarchies were considered backward. They were affected by the general international and domestic atmosphere at that time. They adopted the ideas of the time and I understand this. However, this should have been remained academic ideas is because all young people go through this stage: ideological revolution maturity and pragmatism. I tell these brothers that autonomy is reconciliation because Morocco has made a lot of concessions by giving a large part of its land and soil which are part of its political, economic, and social and cultural privacy. Therefore, the option  itself is a historic reconciliation, expiation of the errors committed by the State since 1956 against Saharans deliberately or inadvertently, in terms of economy marginalization, isolation and lack of consideration.  

Autonomy is a political and human compensation, then it is in itself a recognition that the State made mistakes in the past for a long time. It does not concern one person  but the state administration in general and is now offering something great  which is reconciliation.

With regard to war, it is out of place and an issue of propaganda and demagoguery without any value because it is not well founded and not applicable.  

Question: Polisario is holding its Congress in Tifariti while negotiations are so close and Morocco considers its proposal as final solution.
what do you expect in this situation?

Khalihenna Ould Errachid: First, you know that Polisario had already delayed its Congress for one year and half. This Congress was delayed due to divisions within the Polisario Front. Now the Congress is taking place in Tifariti and we do not expect anything from it. It  does not want peace through negotiation and autonomy as final solution.

These divisions were fueled and deepened by he announcement by a group of tribal elders to hold another Congress called Gjijimat.

Question: Is it possible to solve the problem without going through Algeria?

Khalihenna Ould Errachid: I still have the the same belief. Algiers says it is not a party in the conflict and this is what the Kingdom of Morocco want. Morocco accepted to negotiate because Algeria says that this UN conflict and involved only because it takes place on the edge of its territory because and it is hosting refugees and has positions based on the principles relating to respect for self-determination.

With regard to the position of Algeria in the negotiations, we have not so far seen any impact that we can consider positive impact meaning convincing Polisario to engage or through indirect more flexible way. It is true that Polisario includes Algeria because the conflict is on its territory since it hosts camps, military organization and many individuals that it backs financially and diplomatically. It is so cautious to make any position because it can bring about many things.

I therefore think that Algeria has so far no clear position is still calling for obvious things, but it has not made no important step, it is just letting them swimming in contradictions.

I still believe that Algeria may play a major part especially if there is a popular change in the camps.

Therefore, there is no change my position. This issue is connected with the construction of the Maghreb and has impact on our bilateral relations between the two countries. I personally hope that one day Algeria will change its position leave Polisario free to take its position and its decision.  

Question: Mr. President, within Corcas, what steps can be taken to prepare the ground for the newborn autonomy
Second question: the Secretary-General report spoke about the need to engage in substantive matters. The report warned against useless negotiations.

How can Morocco get into the heart of negotiations?


Khalihenna Ould Errachid: With respect to the first question, this sentence means what follows: no party can change Morocco’s position with regard to autonomy by stalling or delaying thinking that it would bury Morocco’s project. We entered into a series of negotiations and entered in arduous and difficult negotiations, but were advantageous to us since we have a serious project. The other party is subject to contradictions.

In any case, the next round means that Morocco will make a decision at the appropriate time when it deems appropriate.

 
Concernign the second question…

Journalist: the next round and engaging in substantive issues

Khalihenna Ould Errachid: the negotiations is based the fact that the Moroccan project is serious and credible. Therefore, it is the basis for negotiation. The 1783 resolution made this clear. It said that the negotiation is based on the developments that took place in 2006 and the new development in 2006 was autonomy. Polisario demands explicitly to return to old plan or 91 plan ie identification. This plan was buried with the resolution 1754 and created a new procedure concerning the Sahara that will be built on the outcome of direct negotiations and good faith, if agreed by the parties in these negotiations. Therefore there is no previous resolutions and no Baker Plan. We say to Polisario the referendum is impossible and identification is impossible, so, you have two choices: negotiations on autonomy basis or you have to say explicitly to the international community and Sahrawis that you do not want a solution.

 Gjijimat is a popular basis including elders youth, women and children at the level of tribes I mentioned earlier. Therefore it is represents better and threatens the existence of Polisario since the latter is based on the existence of the camps and therefore if the basis is lost Polisario will lose its popular support. This is a source of collapse. Its position is confusing and contradictory, some day it says war another day negotiations and another day no solution. This is really its position, it has not made its mind; this is its psychological situation. 


It will have great challenges, including Manhasset 3 if people waiting change are disappointed. They will be disappointed because Abdel Aziz, Bouhali, Akik, Abdelkader, Mohammed Salek and Mohammed Khaddad will remain. There will be no change and military leaders will stay there is no change on 18. There will be only disappointment then, if it will not carry out reasonable negotiation in Manhasset diplomatic efforts will collapse since the positions of the United States of America, France and Spain. You have all heard the statements and positions. The international community believes that Polisario is hampering of the Organization of the United Nations in reaching a solution satisfactory to all.

Question: Mr. President, back to Gjijimat, you said that a group of tribes want to return to the homeland, in honor and dignity

Khalihenna : supporting autonomy

Question:return the homeland, in honor and dignity, according to the statement, you said that there is a set of financial, psychological and logistical actions and that there are arrangements to be prepared.
By whom? That is the question 

Khalihenna Ould Errachid: by whom? By the Moroccan State

Question: And the Royal Council

Khalihenna Ould Errachid: the State, the Royal Council, the Moroccan State is therefore to take and is in the way of taking all necessary measures in cooperation with the Council

Question: Mr. President, How many people gathering in Gjijimat 

Khalihenna Ould Errachid: One Thousand
 
Question: Mr. Khalihenna, concerning the situation of the brothers in Gjijimat, is there any contact with civil society and international organizations in order to highlight this political event? 

Khalihenna Ould Errachid: of course now the Foreign Minister is taking all wide-ranging actions in this direction.  The state, by order of His Majesty the King, has taken the necessary decisions with regard the preparation of a large-scale program in respect of housing to accommodate these displaced people concerning getting their children and their families out of the camps and provision of all necessary conditions for their decent and proper return to be a model and an example of the new Morocco approach to address this issue at all levels.


Therefore, there is now diplomatic action including with the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, as well as Algeria

There are now procedures at all levels, including the United Nations, MINURSO and everything related to this particular matter and the consequences of Gjijimat Congress...
On this occasion, we should praise media that have interviewed our brothers Brotherhood and difficult conditions faced by journalists and technicians.

 

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